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Old 09-28-2021, 08:57 PM   #1
New Member
1961 22' Safari
Dade City , FL
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 2
New 2 Me 1961 Safari 22'

HELLO all, new to as well as being a new owner of a completely original, un-restored 1961 Safari Land Yacht 22', in excellent condition imo. Was a true barn find which had been parked forever. I havent even found a single ding in the shell, and its all there, right down to the lamp shades. Im not new to the rv industry, having worked as an rv technician in the past, allbeit over 20 yrs ago 😳😂 I have a "jack of all trades" skill set and hope this to be a great success.

After many countess youtube videos, and now knowing many of the pitfalls a person may face when purchasing an older vintage Airstream, I have mentally prepared myself for many suprises, as well as performing a full shell off reno. Unfortunately, not many sellers are going to let you tear apart their camper to inspect framing, flooring etc. before you buy, so I guess you never truly know what you have until you officially OWN it.....well, here I am, looking at my new to me Airstream parked in the driveway & OWNING it 😬 lol

I havent officially tore into it just yet, but what little bit I have, I've found evidence of some wood floor rot in the rear bath area, as well as some heavy frame rust just ahead of the rear bumper.

My next step is figuring out the best spot to begin this reno. I have plenty of property, but do not have a shop, extra garage space etc to work in, so Im trying to explore my options. May buy one of those large portable tarp style garages to stay out of the FL elements. Any suggestions on makeshift work sites, from others who may have been in this situation would be greatly appreciated.

That all being said, I want to do this reno right, as I plan on keeping this vintage time capsule for many years to come. Expecting to do a shell off reno, are there good alternatives for replacement flooring other than plywood? Ive seen koosa (very expensive), tongue & groove water resistant/proof mdf style subflooring etc.
I'd love a strong lighter weight option to help keep down the overall weight of the trailer seeing that Im pulling it with a 4 door Jeep and every saved pound counts there. Ive also read not to use pressure treated plywood due to the off gassing and corrosion characteristics which may come with wood metal contact (havent looked into this enough yet to prove/disprove the theory).

I intend to stay true to its roots, keeping the same exact floor plan instead of gutting it into a modern model. If all goes as planned, I will be reinstalling the orig interior, walls, appliances, cabinets, sinks & tub etc.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:32 PM   #2
Rivet Master

1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,919
Welcome to the renovation interest. I think renovating and rebuilding back to original is the way to go. We did that with both our trailers but added modern amenities, but hidden. You’ll have fun. Start a reno thread and good luck. Looking forward to following.
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Old 09-28-2021, 10:47 PM   #3
New Member
1961 22' Safari
Dade City , FL
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 2
Bubba L, thanks! My wife and I "plan on" videoing the reno and uploading to youtube like others have done as well. Will depend on how much time that takes away from the actual build whether or not we fulfill the youtube venture portion or not.
We too want to add some hidden modern amenities. I want to clean up the look with a bit brighter airy appearance, but retain the floorplan layout and some of the old charm like orig hardware, appliances, lighting etc.
Ill start a reno thread when we get started ��
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Old 09-29-2021, 07:24 AM   #4
3 Rivet Member
1987 34' Limited
Hantsport , NS
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 168
Ours is 34' so although we have a few buildings, none are long enough to accept the trailer or frame. We live on the Atlantic with nasty winds so a temporary shelter wasn't in the cards for us. Take your time and think through the details. Take lots of photos and make good notes. Remove everything carefully and set the pieces aside, and label them until you know they are no longer needed. This week a small win for us - OSB floor pieces saved as templates into the brush pile!

There is so much great resource material on this site and utube. I'm getting ready to return the shell to an '87 34' Limited. We went with Coosa Bluewater 26, 3/4". It was pricey, but compared with the waterlogged OSB I took off, l'm guessing half the weight. Also cuts like a dream.

I admire folks who can do a shell off/subfloor in a weekend. Where we rebuilt most of the frame, changed the wheel well capture configuration somewhat, added hold down plates front and back that were not affixed originally, repaired most of the C-channel pieces, tried to tidy up some shoddy factory bolt through points on the outriggers (then after affixing the channel with 3/8" stainless bolts into the middle of outriggers realized that perfection = conflict with where some of the ribs land, so some of these need to be removed and redone), and resized the plumbing/tank holes that had been hacked way too large along the way, refit the tanks with new valves and sensors, getting this right has taken a lot more time that I had anticipated. I've got tarps over the frame/floor, but the rainy season has hit and water lays on the flat surface, weeping through. If I was working with new plywood, I'd be sick with grief.

Then there's our fresh water and waste tank odyssey, but I'm not sure that's relevant to your unit.

Not as complex as restoring an old car, but many details nonetheless. Pro tip = when wearing ear defenders be mindful that your cursing will carry lol.

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Old 09-29-2021, 11:51 AM   #5
3 Rivet Member
1960 26' Overlander
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 184
Images: 4
If your Safari has been stored mostly indoors in a barn there may be less damage than you are imagining. I have a '60 Overlander that has always been stored outdoors. About 20 years ago I was worried about the frame condition in the belly pan since what what was exposed had rust perforations. I cut open the belly pan to inspect. What I found was a frame that was mostly pristine with the black paint intact! I closed the belly up and had a welder patch those exposed areas. That was 20 years ago and it is just now to the point where something else more radical needs to be done.

Minor areas of floor rot is perfectly treatable with epoxy...the thing being that you need to find where the water is coming from and seal it up to keep more rot from happening.

All of this to say that you may not need or even want a body-off at this time. Just fix what you find and enjoy travelling with your Airstream!
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